I love working for Softball Bound and appreciate the feedback we get from our customers. As an example, one of our customers recently told us he had no idea how we stayed on top of the coach updates but we often beat the NFCA coaching updates.
Information is very wrong
I unfortunately also see things that disappoint me. I recently received an email from a player, class of 2022. My guess is the player would be 14 to 15 years old and if they own their recruiting process, they should be celebrated for their dedication. However, I don’t believe the email was from the player. I feel a parent was sending emails to coaches, from our app, with an email account set up to appear as though coming from their daughter.
The email came at 12:30 in the afternoon and the context of the email was “your app has very incorrect information”. I panicked. We occasionally have something outdated as there are over 1200 schools to keep updated and not ALL of this can be automated. I sprung in to action for the school brought to my attention but nothing stood out to me as being wrong. I double and triple checked the data and then replied that I couldn’t find anything wrong. The school, coach, ACT/SAT scores were updated.
The reply from our customer? “You have the wrong conference.” This is one detailed teenager I thought and so props to her for pointing it out. An update is made within seconds, and all receive the update in app instantaneously. Cool, very wrong means something different to everyone but happy to have a satisfied customer. Except, there wasn’t a thank you, any acknowledgment of the change, just this.
I will preface this by saying AllTeamz appreciates all feedback and truthfully the author of the email is not wrong. Adding assistant coaches to the app would be hard and rather impossible, there’s just too much change/turnover/lack of decision making at that level. As someone who has been through the recruiting process with many schools and many athletes, it’s also factually wrong. All of the coaches I have worked with have been head coaches and will position assistant coaches where they believe talent should be seen. Often a player or parent will speak with an assistant coach and even establish a relationship only to find that coach is now somewhere else on short notice. The head coach is going to be the person who says yes or no. I prefer players I work with to establish relationships with both assistants and the head coach by working from the top down.
Advice to softball parents
While a teenager could have sent the emails above, I have a hunch a mother or father wrote them. I believe the word choices, “very wrong,” “for one thing” (email not included above) do not sound like a teen. Again, happy to be wrong, but don’t do what I did for my daughter. I very well could have written this email because I use to do this for my daughter too.
When my youngest was about 15, we noticed coaches were watching her. At tournaments (within some silly rules only the coaches could understand) they would talk to her. I decided I would use technology to solve a problem for my daughter. How could she personally send emails to 20-30 coaches with pretty much only the coaches names changing? Well, the short answer is SHE should have sent the emails, made the phone calls, kept coaches in the loop, putting the work in. But….. she was busy with softball and heck I can do this easy squeezy. I had her write a little blurb about herself, I used a Microsoft Word mail merge and a list of the coaches she wanted to contact, and with a bit of magic, 30 emails were sent in all of about 2 minutes.
As she got older, these coaches started to email her travel coach and her hitting coach. Each of the coaches would tell her, “you have to call Coach XYZ back and talk to her/him. She can’t call you”. Do you want to know what my daughter did? She didn’t do anything. She didn’t call them back, and she didn’t email them, I had made it too easy for her. The work to establish a relationship is very hard when you’re not involved in any part of it. I had screwed up. Her lack of interest in calling them was because she wanted to be wanted. My widely cast net had caught too many fish for her comfort. All she could see was an overwhelming amount of energy being spent on people she had not yet established a personal story with herself.
I stopped sending her emails unless she asked for my help. She met coaches over the summer of her Junior year and went to two camps and fell in love with the staff. She would text them after games to give updates, call them about grades, or anything else she felt it’d be good for them to know. What I had realized was that my kid wasn’t lazy or unappreciative of my effort, it was an effort she didn’t put in, and she wanted the fruits of her labor to blossom with a coach she loved and a school she’d want to go. It was my relationship to some degree and not hers.
In closing, don’t send emails to college softball coaches on behalf of your daughter. Assistants or otherwise. If she wants it bad enough she’ll send the email and plant a seed. With persistence, just like playing the game, the seed will sprout and continue growing.
Mom and dad won’t be there on their first day of a real job and these skills are as important as anything in the real world. I made this mistake and when my daughter took ownership of the process it changed for both of us.
Founder of AllTeamz.com. I am an avid softball fan, coach, and parent. I am an advocate for young women in sports, not just softball. I can likely help your athlete do all kinds of things, including send emails to coaches, and help you find resources you didn’t even know existed.